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The All Blacks named their captain in May. Here's why Rennie hasn't named naming his Wallabies skipper

Sun, 23/08/2020, 9:20 pm
Christy Doran
by Christy Doran
Dave Rennie has opened up on why he hasn't named his Wallabies captain. Photo: Getty Images
Dave Rennie has opened up on why he hasn't named his Wallabies captain. Photo: Getty Images

All Blacks coach Ian Foster might have named Sam Cane his captain months ago, but new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie remains unmoved on who will lead Australia forward, maintaining he'll pick the team first before settling on his skipper.

Cane, who first captained the All Blacks back in 2015, was named Foster's captain on May 5 after Kieran Read's offshore move to Japan brought an end to his playing career with the All Blacks.

But New Zealander Rennie, who led the Chiefs to back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, has always maintained that no player, including incumbent captain Michael Hooper, was assured his place in the side and, for that reason, he would delay naming his captain until picking his first official squad.

"Look, each to their own I guess," Rennie told RUGBY.com.au in a wide-ranging interview around those included in his August PONI squad.

"I've spoken lots to Hoops and he's an impressive man and playing really good footy.

"But from the start we've always said that you've got to earn the right to play for the Wallabies, so we want to pick guys who are in form and then we'll pick a skipper and leaders from that group.

"There's no hurry to do that and I just think from our perspective if we pick a captain early it gives a bit of a signal to other guys that we've already made up our mind over who is number one."

While Hooper is favourite to once again wear the No.7 jersey, Reds duo Liam Wright and Fraser McReight are two players in form that are also in the frame to play for the Wallabies in 2020.

Hooper, who has led the Wallabies 46 times since first skippering Australia in 2014, spoke last month of his desire to continue leading his country.

Only last week too, his teammate Matt To'omua cautioned against the Wallabies making a leadership change.

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Rennie said it was pleasing from a coach's perspective to have someone who wanted to lead the Wallabies and recognised the Waratahs' stunning performance against the Reds earlier in the month, which happened to coincide with the one match Hooper has captained his Super Rugby side in 2020 since relinquishing the role earlier in the year, 

"We're trying to keep pressure on everyone," Rennie said.

"The greatest thing from our perspective, Hoops has made it clear he wants to be skipper and enjoys the role and he did a pretty good job the one time he was skipper this year with the Waratahs -had a big win - which is great from our perspective.

"Once we name our squad we'll name our skipper and leaders at the same time."

Rennie is preparing to name an enlarged squad for the Bledisloe and Rugby Championship Tests.

With a hub in New Zealand still very much the plan to allow for The Rugby Championship tournament to run over six weeks in November and December, the Pumas, Springboks and Wallabies will likely have to bring extended squads because they won't be able to fly-in players on a whim should they need to given quarantine restrictions.

"We're looking at some kids, if they're good enough they can play for us this year but we're confident that they'll be strong long-term prospects," Rennie told RUGBY.com.au.

"We're not so much looking at how the (Super Rugby AU) teams are going either it's more around individuals and trying to create a bit of depth and, as I mentioned earlier, learn more about those players."

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